Reporters Without Borders and the International Women’s Media Foundation (www.iwmf.org) have jointly launched a petition for the immediate and unconditional release of reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who have now been held in North Korea for an entire week.
“Laura Ling and Euna Lee were taken into custody on the Chinese-North Korean border while reporting on the fate of North Korean refugees, and, more specifically, on the practice of trafficking in women. Pyongyang authorities have no reason to hold them or to accuse them of illegal activities. They should be freed at once,” the two organizations urged.
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On March 27, 2009, Reporters Without Borders and the International Women’s Media Foundation launched a petition on behalf of Laura Ling and Euna Lee. The two reporters are currently being held in Pyongyang by the authorities, who have accused them of being spies who entered North Korea illegally. The North Korean government has allegedly affirmed that they were being well-treated, though independent sources have been unable to confirm it.
According to information gathered by Reporters Without Borders in South Korea and on the Chinese border, the two journalists, their cameraman, Mitch Koss, and their Chinese guide, were on a reporting assignment for media outlet Current TV. At this moment, it is impossible to say whether they actually crossed the border and were heading for North Korea.
During a meeting with a Reporters Without Borders delegation, former South Korean president Kim Dae Jung stated on March 26 that he was certain “North Korean authorities would soon release the two U.S. journalists.”
Mitch Koss, Current TV’s American cameraman, was allowed to leave China after Chinese authorities had held him for several days. He was with Euna Lee and Laura Ling at the time of their arrest on March 17, but managed to escape from the North Korean border guards. Their guide-a Chinese citizen of North Korean origin, is apparently still being held by the Chinese police.
The two women were supposedly transferred to Pyongyang on March 18.